Michigan Environmental Report
A bill increasing toxic chemical contamination accountability and pollution prevention unanimously passed the Michigan Senate Wednesday. It also serves as a reminder that the state’s first enforceable drinking water limits on PFAS have stalled in a committee for nearly three months, one step away from protecting human and environmental health.
COVID-19 has cast a bright spotlight on water shutoffs.
In response, we’ve seen the governor order service be restored, extensive media coverage and a flock of new voices joining debates about best ways to provide this essential service.
Yet all this attention hasn’t translated into enough immediate action. Today, upwards of 10,000 Detroit residents lack running water in their homes!
Thank goodness for We the People of Detroit.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday the resumption of bottle return services with certain restrictions starting June 15 in a win for Michigan’s residents and its recycling industries.
“We applaud the governor for continuing her deliberate and safety-based approach to reopening Michigan’s economy during the continued COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Hammond, policy director of Michigan Environmental Council.
One summer morning in 2019, Kevin McKeehan, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at Michigan State University, jumped into Lake Michigan. North Manitou Island was in full frame before him. Behind him, Capt. David Schroeder of the National Park Service turned his ship, the “Nahma,” away toward Lower Michigan’s mitten tip.
After wading to shore, McKeehan spent hours hiking, passing the occasional hollowed homestead of 19th-century loggers and fruit farmers.
Finally, the MSU graduate student found his destination: an outlook onto the island’s westward coastal dunes system.
Detroit will launch a citywide event this weekend to encourage participation in the 2020 census. Michigan Environmental Council’s engagement director said the effort comes at a time when federal funding stemming from it is needed most.
“Now more than ever we need to fill out our census forms,” said MEC’s Sandra Turner-Handy. “We have families in distress. The federal dollars we get from each family counted can go a long way in helping them and the Detroit community at large, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and a recession.”
When flash flooding broke two Midland area dams Tuesday, the hearts of Michigan Environmental Council’s staff were with the thousands of area residents who would have to leave their homes behind as high waters rushed into their communities.
The flood was the second of its size in 35 years, a result of the devastating effects of climate change and inadequate investment in resilient infrastructure. In Edenville Dam’s case, abnormally heavy rain ravaged a dam in need of repair.
A recent draft plan to make Lake Erie healthier and bluer could continue to leave it algae green. Michigan residents can join MEC and other advocates to help improve it.
In April, after weeks of research and collaboration, Michigan Environmental Council sent in a sign-on letter with allies to the state of Michigan. They asked for revisions to its adaptive management plan for Lake Erie's high nutrient levels during a public comment period, which is open to all Michiganders until June 19.
DTE Energy’s attempt to significantly raise electricity rates on its residential customers and run dirty, expensive power plants was blunted Friday.
April was the first month in history more renewable energy was used in the United States than coal. The Michigan Public Service Commission issued an order which continues that trend by rejecting unjustified fossil fuel spending and reducing the 9 percent rate increase DTE asked to impose on its residential customers. The Commission’s decision will affect customer bills starting June 2020.